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International Jurisdiction

The first subtopic of private international law is international jurisdiction. This is about assessing the jurisdiction of a national court in an international context. The set of rules of international jurisdiction determines under which circumstances and conditions a court may assume international jurisdiction and when it may not.

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Sources of International Jurisdiction

As far as sources of law are concerned, a distinction must be made between sources at EU (or supranational) level, sources of the Hague Conference on Private International Law and sources of national law.

In practice, the most important regulations for international jurisdiction come almost exclusively from the EU. The EU legislator has regulated a whole range of topics in the form of regulations:

The Hague Conference has developed the Hague Choice of Court Convention of 2005 especially for exclusive choice of court cases. This Convention is only relevant in relation to Mexico, Montenegro and Singapore.

If the above sources of law do not apply to your case, within the Netherlands you have to fall back on the Dutch national rules on international jurisdiction: Articles 1 to 14 of the Dutch Civil Procedure Code.

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Lawyer Tim de Greve, partner at Stibbe.

I regularly engage the IJI in cases where PIL aspects play a role. The institute has existed for over 100 years and can therefore boast a long history and experience. There are prominent people associated with it. Not least Mr Strikwerda. They support you from the outset, immediately understand the question you are faced with and suggest possible solutions. They have the right connections at home and abroad to answer questions within a reasonable timeframe. Apart from that, it is very pleasant to work with the people of the IJI.

Lawyer Channa Samkalden, Prakken d'Oliveira

We have received advice from the IJI on several cases. One example is a case brought by a number of Nigerian farmers against Shell concerning oil pollution in Nigeria. That case is about the application of Nigerian law by the Dutch court. The IJI looked into the framework of tort law in Nigeria for us. We used that advice in the proceedings and also submitted it to the court and it showed, for instance, that our plaintiffs were also entitled to claim against Shell under Nigerian law. The IJI is extremely useful in all such cases because you receive very sound advice on the basis of which you know whether you should have a number of things investigated further. It’s very useful advice at an early stage of your procedure.

Attorney Ria van Seventer, Meesters aan de Maas Advocaten

Our law firm is based in Rotterdam, a city of more than 170 nationalities, so we regularly have to ask the IJI for advice. For example, I had to deal with the recognition of a child by an Italian man, to which Italian law had to be applied. I don’t speak Italian so I could not do that myself. Nor did I have access to the sources which the IJI has.

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